If feline obesity rates are anything to go by, it is clear that most cats in the United States are barely receiving any playtime. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, up to 60% of house cats in the US are obese.
Feline obesity reduces a cat’s lifespan dramatically because it increases the cat’s susceptibility to life-threatening conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, liver disease, lameness, urinary problems, and gastrointestinal diseases.
Ensuring your kitty is receiving enough playtime is one of the best ways of keeping them fit, allowing them to enjoy a longer lifespan.
In addition to weight management, playtime allows a cat to hone its hunting instincts, ensuring they are mentally stimulated. Moreover, a tired cat is less likely to engage in destructive behavior, such as scratching up your furniture.
Unfortunately, most pet parents lead busy lives, preventing them from providing their kitties with enough playtime. If you are in that bracket, consider investing in a cat toy. Electronic cat toys are a good bet because they can keep a cat engaged for hours without requiring your presence, unlike ordinary toys.
These toys come in various designs, which makes them vary significantly in quality and effectiveness. That means identifying the best one for your kitty can be an arduous task.
Luckily, we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. The following are reviews of the seven best electronic cat toys for playtime in 2021.
Quick Glance at the Winners of 2023
|Best Overall||PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy||
|Best Value||Floppy Fish Cat Toy||
|Premium Choice||PetFusion Ambush Interactive Electronic Cat Toy||
|SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy||
|Premier Pet Fox Den Cat Toy||
The 7 Best Cat Toys for Playtime
1. PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy — Best Overall
Laser light will fascinate any cat, and for a good reason, the moving dot triggers a cat’s predatory instincts. Unlike canines, felines rely more on sight than smell to track their prey. That explains why cats detect even the slightest movements within their field of view.
This is why laser toys are arguably the best types of cat toys, as they offer the animal both mental and physical stimulation. Unfortunately, most laser toys are hand-held, meaning your cat cannot get that enrichment when you are not around.
Fortunately, this interactive laser toy from Petsafe is a cut above the rest. The Bolt is a battery-operated, freestanding unit with an automated rotating mirror that projects a laser beam in random patterns. It works like a regular hand-held laser toy, only that it is automated. This means that you can simply leave it on the floor to engage your kitty when you are away.
You will also love that it comes with a manual mode that allows you to create your own patterns for your pet to chase around.
To help conserve battery life, the Bolt has an in-built timer that turns the unit off after 15 minutes of playtime. Unfortunately, its laser is barely visible in brightly lit rooms.
All in all, we think this is the best electronic cat toy for playtime.
2. Floppy Fish Cat Toy – Best Value
If you are on a budget, consider going with the Floppy Fish Cat Toy. This toy features an ingenious design consisting of a realistic-looking fish that wags and kicks when turned on. As you can imagine, few things can capture a cat’s attention the way a wagging fish does. Read on for our full floppy fish cat toy review.
Once your cat is in predator mode, there is no doubt that it will want to sink its fangs into the kicking fish. To ensure your cat’s safety, the Floppy Fish is made out of plush fabric. It is soft and comfortable, ensuring your feline does not injure its teeth in the process. Moreover, it does not contain any toxic materials, making sure no harm comes to the animal even if it were to ingest the material.
To keep your cat’s interest for extended periods, the Floppy Fish’s interior is laced with organically grown catnip. The catnip’s fragrance attracts the cat, thus stimulating play.
We also loved the Floppy Fish’s auto on/off setting that regulates the toy’s kicking/flapping motions. This setting ensures the Floppy Fish only kicks when it is touched, stopping when the cat moves away. This feature saves you the hassle of having to turn the toy on and off. What’s more, it does not rely on traditional batteries, as it is rechargeable.
However, the Floppy Fish Cat Toy might not be ideal for people with pet fish, as it might encourage the cat to hunt all fish inside the home.
3. PetFusion Ambush Interactive Electronic Cat Toy — Premium Choice
The Ambush Interactive Electronic Cat Toy by PetFusion is one of the best electronic cat toys that money can buy. The idea here is to stimulate a cat’s predatory instincts by providing a moving “prey” for the feline to hunt.
The unit has six holes from which a colorful feather randomly pops out. Additionally, it has LED lighting that also works to capture your cat’s attention.
As mentioned, felines are triggered by random movements, especially when made by small things. As such, the randomly appearing and disappearing feather will stimulate your cat’s innate stalking and pouncing instincts tremendously, resulting in one thoroughly satisfied kitty once it captures the elusive feather.
The Ambush automated cat toy has been designed to be as safe and friendly to the cat as it can be. For starters, it has padded anti-skid feet that prevent the unit from sliding around as the cat pounces on it. Additionally, the feathers come off easily to reward the cat for a successful capture. What’s more, the unit comes with an extra replacement feather in case your kitty destroys the original.
You will also appreciate the auto shutoff feature that turns off the toy after 8 minutes of non-use. However, this wonderful toy is not ideal for big cats since they might break it. It is also quite expensive.
4. SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy
The Hot Pursuit Cat Toy by SmartyKat is one of the best tools you can use to help an overweight kitty shed pounds. It comes in the form of an erratically moving wand with a toy animal attached at its end under a plastic cover.
Once you turn this unit on, the wand starts moving the toy attachment beneath the cover in random motions. Your curious cat will head over to investigate what is running around beneath the cover, attempting to capture it.
You can make it difficult for the cat and fun for you by switching between different speeds.
The only thing we did not like about this toy is its lack of an auto shutoff feature. This means that you must turn it off physically when not in use.
5. Premier Pet Fox Den Cat Toy
The Premier Pet Fox Den Cat Toy’s low profile allows senior cats to stalk and attempt to capture their “prey” without having to pounce on it. It features a motion-activated foxtail that swishes back and forth to catch your kitty’s attention and then disappears.
This toy comes with both an on/off mode and auto shutoff feature to enhance its user-friendliness. The on/off mode allows you to engage your cat in playtime when you are at home. On the other hand, the auto shutoff feature allows the toy to engage your kitty when you are not at home; it turns on the toy for 10 minutes every 2 hours, ensuring your kitty stays entertained throughout the day.
The only drawback to this unit is its high price tag.
6. SlowTon Remote Control Mouse Cat Toy
One of the perks of playtime with your kitty is the bonding experience. The Slowton Remote Control Mouse Cat Toy is designed to make playtime an exciting experience for you both. The design features a small remote-controlled plastic car in the shape of a mouse, plus a feather tail that will bait your cat into chasing.
This toy allows you to hone your cat’s hunting instincts in addition to keeping their weight in check. The front wheels can rotate 360 degrees to allow the car to make turns and prevent it from flipping over in case it hits something.
Another great thing about this toy is you can use it anywhere. However, you cannot be any further than 6 feet from the Mouse Car to control it. It is also quite loud.
7. Pakoo Interactive Smart Ball
The Pakoo Interactive Smart Ball is a simple but effective cat toy. This ball uses smart technology to roll around on its own, avoiding obstacles while testing your cat’s hunting skills. Since it moves erratically, the ball forces your cat to think critically to capture it. That ensures your kitty is both physically and mentally stimulated.
The Pakoo Interactive Smart Ball comes with an auto shutoff feature that shuts down the toy after 40 minutes of play. That allows your cat to relax between sessions and ensures that it does not get bored with the toy. When it runs out of power, simply plug it into its USB charger.
However, this ball does not roll well on thick carpets.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Electronic Cat Toy for Playtime
There are a few things to consider when buying toys for your cat. Making those considerations will allow you to choose the best toy for your kitty. They include:
Considering how rough cats can be, it is crucial to make sure that the toy cannot harm them in any way. That means it should be made from pet-friendly material, in addition to not containing any small parts that can be swallowed or choked on.
Your Cat’s Preferences
Cats have different personalities, meaning their preferences are different too. Therefore, to make playtime an activity your cat looks forward to, you will need to experiment with different types of toys to find the one your kitty loves the most.
As mentioned, cats are rather rough with their toys. This is because their preferred method of playing involves pouncing on the toy and batting, scratching, and biting it. As such, the toy must be sturdy enough to withstand damage for months or years.
Your Cat’s Age and Size
Your kitty’s age and size matter too when choosing a toy for them. For instance, kittens require more interactive toys to suit their developing minds and high energy levels. On the other hand, senior cats need simpler toys since they do not have the energy to pounce around as younger cats do.
While you’re at it, choose a toy that is appropriate for your cat’s size. Larger cats such as Maine Coons can easily destroy regular toys.
There you have it, a list of some of the best electronic cat toys you can get your kitty. The best thing about electronic cat toys is that they can entertain your feline even when you are not around, ensuring your cat receives adequate mental and physical stimulation.
Hopefully, our reviews have taken you a couple of steps closer to identifying the best toy for your cat. If you are still on the fence, consider going with the PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy. This toy will ensure that your kitty gets a good workout while honing its hunting instincts. If you are on a budget, the Floppy Fish Cat Toy will make an excellent choice.